To say that the London music scene is overwhelming is like saying winters in Canada are a little bit cold.
The global city we call London has incorporated so many musical influences from everywhere around the world into her own, distinct sound.
Jazz, Reggae, and Hip Hop have all helped shape the landscape of music in this city on the Thames.
And that is quite apart from music genres that originated in London, such as Punk and, more recently, Grime.
In fact, Urban Contemporary music has gained such a foothold that BBC radio set up a channel expressly for the purpose of supporting and promoting those promising musicians.
Still, not everyone in London raps a lyric, or pogoes to a syncopated beat.
Acts such as One Direction, Amy Winehouse and Wham! all took London – and the world by storm, each representing a distinctly different ethos.
And, as though there weren’t enough variety in music in ole’ London Towne, you have the majesty of the London Symphony Chorus and no fewer than four conservatories in which to study classical music, all within city limits.
Where does your voice fit, in the rhythm and beat of London? What do you want to learn how to sing?
What station would your brand of singing play on? Source: Pixabay Credit: DG-RA
Have you ever noticed that there are some songs that you can sing comfortably and well, while others feel like you are straining your vocal chords?
That could be because you’ve not yet mastered breathing techniques, or have neglected to warm up your larynx prior to belting out a tune.
Outside of those two vital components of vocal health, if your voice tends to slide into a falsetto on the high notes and/or creaks on the low notes, it could well be that you are singing outside of your range.
Vocal ranges are broadly defined as: soprano, alto, baritone, and bass.
As music theory expounds on the limitations of those basic range designations, they become further defined.
For example: coloratura, lyric and dramatic are all types of soprano, meant for specific musical roles.
There is a danger inherent in classifying one’s voice as any given type, without probing the breadth of its range.
Who remembers singing in the school choir; being placed along fellow students whose voices are so different from yours, and being expected to stay in tune with them?
Singing out of your range, especially without proper warm up, can prove downright harmful to your vocal training.
We will learn more about training your voice a bit later. For now…
Just in case you think we might have overlooked classification of male voices:
The male baritone is the typical voice type of most males; tenor is the highest possible male range.
If you are a true tenor, you would be most welcome in any choir!
Joining a choir is a great way to exercise your voice under direction Source: Pixabay Credit: Intmurr
London City Voices is a community choir that welcomes aspiring vocalists at any of its four branches.
No singing experience is necessary to join them, and you don’t need to know how to read sheet music.
You don’t have to wear a robe or audition in order to earn your spot in their choir, either!
Their repertoire includes selections from folk, jazz and contemporary styles, anything from David Bowie to Ed Sheeran, with a bit of ELO thrown in for good measure.
By contrast, City Academy Choirs have arranged their singing groups by genre. After a free taster session, which serves as your informal audition, you could join:
Besides those, you have the choice of joining either of their two mixed-repertoire groups.
Or, you could join several groups, as long as the scheduling suits!
The best part about singing with a choir, besides training your voice, is the opportunity for making new friends.
It is not uncommon for choir groups to head to the pub after rehearsals, just to keep the good vibes kicking!
The point of singing in a choir is, well… to sing. Cultivating your voice is a by-product of harmonizing in a group.
Voice training, on the other hand, is an endeavour that is targeted specifically to developing your vocal techniques, with the ability to sing well being a secondary consideration.
While, in essence, you would develop the same habits for good vocal health through instruction from either a choir director or a voice teacher, the latter is much more focused on your ability to use your instrument to its full potential.
Who, you might ask, besides a vocalist, needs vocal exercises?
In short: it is not only the singer at Wembley that needs a singing teacher.
shouting through a megaphone without proper warm ups is not good for your voice Source: Pixabay Credit: GraphicMama-Team
Before the first note is sung, either in choir or voice lessons, your coach would lead you through warm up exercises.
First, s/he would assess your posture: head up, shoulders back and adequate tension on your abdomen – to give your diaphragm maximum support in helping push out air.
Next would come breathing exercises. Breathing from your belly is one; another would be to sing numerals as you exhale.
The higher you count, the more developed your breath control!
Finally, you would work on your throat: lip trilling, humming and running scales would be the order of things at this stage.
At that point, the choir director would lead you through your first song.
A voice coach would go further, teaching you how to expand your range and improve your head voice and chest voice, and work on ear training.
Ear training is the ability to recognise musical elements such as intervals and notes without sheet music; simply by hearing them.
Of course, there would be singing involved. After all, that is why you are seeking out a singing teacher, isn’t it?
Because this is such a musical city, you could go down virtually any given street and find a studio to improve your voice in.
These recommendations come with no endorsement, in no particular order.
Voxbox is unique because they offer group training sessions at no cost.
If you are a beginner, intermediate or already a singing success, you can attend their workshops to gain more singing tips.
Beyond those, they give private lessons and teach formal classes. Naturally, there is a fee charged for them.
Samuel Nichol is a vocal coach intent on helping as many as possible to reach their full potential, whether they want to sing or learn to use their voice more effectively.
Once the head vocal coach at London Music School, he is now established in his own studio, imparting singing techniques to children as well as adults.
The London Music Institute accepts only adults for their comprehensive programs.
They welcome singers of all stripes, from absolute beginners to advanced, at which point your singing teachers will work with you to perfect your singing technique and extend your range.
If you would like to dazzle your mates with your powerful vocals on karaoke night, finding and developing your singing voice with the professionals at LMI would be a great way to do so!
If you are looking for one on one lessons with a voice coach, you might drop in on Soho Vocal Tuition.
Their approach to training your vocal folds is much the same as a physical fitness coach would use to help you get your body fit.
Breathe! Vocal warm up! Exercise the voice! Expand the range! Now: sing!
Although their voice teachers are certainly too polite to bark such orders, they attack vocal lessons with the same passion and dedication as a gym coach would employ to motivate you to get in shape.
What if, for whatever reason, your desire to stay home outweighs your wish to start singing?
Do you fear being in the spotlight? Taking voice lessons can help you gain confidence Source: Pixabay Credit: StockSnap
If you live further away from the capital city, why not find out about voice coaching in Glasgow, singing lessons in Cardiff, vocal coaches in Manchester, Liverpool (birthplace of the Beatles) or even Bournemouth?
What if you suffer from horrible stage fright; couldn’t squeak the first note out with someone else in the room?
There is no shame in that, of course. It just means that learning to sing with a teacher online might be a satisfactory option for you to train your voice.
And become more confident, too!
The trick is to find the right teacher; to winnow that long list of Internet search results into the one instructor that helps you relax and learn how to sing better.
Superprof voice coaches would certainly fit that bill.
With more than seven hundred tutors qualified to teach music and singing, surely you could find the most effective mentor for your pitch and tone of voice.
Most of Superprof’s teachers offer their first hour of lessons for free.
That gives you a chance to determine if any given instructor is the right fit for you, and can help you reach your singing goals.
All you need is a decent Internet connexion and Skype; soon you will be on your way to confidence in voice and body.
With a few online voice lessons under your belt, you may find yourself able to sing karaoke, after all!
Whatever method you choose for learning how to sing, just remember that vocal health should always be your first priority, closely followed by finding harmony and joy – both in music and your life.
Once you have all of that, you too can make a splash on the London music scene!
Find out about taking singing lessons elsewhere the UK.